Okay, so technically we still have one day left of the blog hop, but that’s reserved for a weekly feature on this site – a chance for you all to get to meet my writing group. Today I want to break the formula and ramble a bit about my own views on indie publishing and marketing aside from what I talked about yesterday.
First, though, a reminder that we’re still giving away loads of books for free. Let’s review what you stand to win this week:
-eBooks of the Corridors of the Dead (limit 5)
-eBooks of the Kayson Cycle (limit 5)
-eBooks of the Station (limit 5)
-Advance eBook of Room 3 when it releases (limit 2)
-eBooks of the Newfoundland Vampire (limit 3)
-eBooks of Marie Loughin’s Valknut the Binding (limit 5)
That’s 25 free books ready for folks to win. And all you have to do is comment. Once you’ve commented, you’ll go into the drawing spreadsheet. On Friday, I’ll draw your number from the hat (a random number generator), and notify you of what you’ve won. Your odds are really, really good, and I know the involved authors would love your comments on our posts. I’m hoping this will be fun for everybody and spur some discussion.
All right, so. Where do we go with this post? Good question. I had originally envisioned this post as a recap of what the other authors shared this week, but I think those posts stand on their own and there’s no need to rehash and bore all of us. The answer, I think, is to take a look at my own attitudes about indie publishing and marketing, outside of writing. I went with four additional questions to probe some of my own attitudes.
The most difficult part about being an indie publisher
Hands-down, the marketing. Formatting is a chore and can be a slow, frustrating pain (doubly so when you’re working on a print book), but when it’s done, it’s done. Marketing drags on and on and can suck up every moment of your waking life if you allow it to. Not to mention that, as I said yesterday, you can develop this real casino mentality to the whole thing, hoping that the big payoff is just around the corner. All the while it drains your money (creativity) with no real return. Everyone claims to have the answer, but by the time that person shares her answer, that approach has likely dried up entirely, and that’s not mentioning people who have an angle just to make money off of desperate authors.
That brings me to another point: I have some frustration with the indie community right now for not realizing that the marketing thing is something of a rat race and a lot of people are being taken advantage of with no real tangible return for their money. Absolutely it is everyone’s right to make that decision and I would never take that away from them, but I can still be a little sad to see people shelling out multiple thousands of dollars to sell a few hundred books. From a pure business standpoint, it makes little sense, and I say this as a big “art over business” guy.
Yes. Let me say that again, yes. Hell, yes, you should create print copies of your book, no matter how much of a pain in the ass it might be. Let me put it to you this way: More than 50% of my sales of Corridors of the Dead were through print alone, carried out the old-fashioned way: connecting person-to-person with readers and sharing my own experiences with them. I find it really helps sell someone on the novel when they can connect the author to the work, and most POD services these days are very, very low-cost. I mean, why not? It’s one more venue for your book if nothing else.
Blog tours…still smart?
I don’t know. I’m not sure they were ever super-effective in the first place. I don’t know anyone who really raised awareness through them, or if they did, it was long before I came on the scene. That would put the sell-by date on blog tours somewhere around the middle of 2011, which is a lifetime ago in terms of the self-publishing industry. As a blog reader, I know that I sometimes skip over blog tour stops (I say this as I host stops on my own, but I am trying to add some value for my regular readers) if it looks like a cookie-cutter pre-written entry. Is that really effective for the touring writer? Maybe if they hit 100+ blogs, but at that point I wonder if that’s the most efficient use of your time as a writer. I’m on the fence, leaning towards them not being a very effective tool at this point.
Oh, boy, now here’s where I really get irritated. At the risk of alienating some folks, I’m going to talk a little about gimmicks. You know the ones – tweet about a book, like a book, tag a book, etc. and get a giveaway entry to win a Kindle Fire. Oh and I’m guilty of hosting entries like this, so I know, you don’t need to tell me. I just realized a few weeks ago that I think this cheapens what we do; it gives our writing an air of desperation, that we don’t feel it can really stand on its own. Now giving away copies of your book? That’s kind of the opposite, and I stand by that. That’s a way of saying, yes, I believe in this book enough that I’m willing to give it away sight-unseen to a person that I don’t know. That actually takes some courage, where giving away an Amazon gift card does not. That’s what I think book marketing should be about: the courage to engage the reader and give them value based on your own work. That includes the act of creating new works, the best marketing that I know of.
All right, one more time. I’m curious what readers think of these giveaways and blog tours. Do they get your attention at all, or do you experience fatigue with them? You can click on the image below to access the other blogs on our hop.